In a new effort to help young children receive adequate nutrition and early intervention — and in an attempt to break the cycle of child malnutrition — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has made a $5 million donation Dollars for the new UNICEF program “No Time To Waste” worldwide campaign against malnutrition.
The campaign specifically aims to help children suffering from wasting, which is defined as low weight for height – the most immediate, visible and life-threatening form of malnutrition. Children with wasting have weakened immune systems, putting them at high risk of developmental delays, disease, and death.
The church’s donation will include materials to help prevent, identify and treat wasting and other forms of malnutrition, according to a release on ChurchofJesusChrist.org.
Sharon Eubank, director of the Church’s Humanitarian Services, made the announcement in recorded remarks shared with other leaders from the nonprofit and private sectors at a United Nations General Assembly side event in New York City on Wednesday, September 21.
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is pleased to extend our long-standing partnership with UNICEF by pledged $5 million to support the No Time to Waste campaign against malnutrition,” said Sister Eubank.
“This funding comes in small increments from hard-working families and from widows on limited incomes and from young children themselves,” she added. “It was given by Latter-day Saints so mothers could have healthier pregnancies and births and provide therapeutic nutrition and micronutrients to their children who may be at risk.”
Malnutrition and wasting can be caused by poor maternal nutrition, low birth weight, poor dietary habits, poverty and infections. This new campaign will help malnourished children ages 5 and under in up to 24 countries in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, the Middle East and the Philippines.
Bishop L. Todd Budge, Second Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric of the Church, said, “We are pleased to support UNICEF’s efforts to help children living with malnutrition because this program aligns closely with the Church’s global focus on early childhood nutrition. “
UNICEF estimates that up to 41 million children suffering from malnutrition could be affected in the first year of programming. Michael J. Nyenhuis, President and CEO of UNICEF USA, spoke about the Church’s donation.
“This support marks a significant new phase in our partnership, building on nine years of impact on children and investment in lifesaving programs. The time to act against child wasting is now, and together we will not stop until all children are healthy,” said Nyenhuis.
The campaign will work with health ministries, local organizations and community health systems to implement the program and provide direct education, training and resources to families.
The press release states that the church’s contribution could have the following benefits:
- Thousands of children with ready-to-use therapeutic foods, vitamin supplements, micronutrient fortification, screening and related treatments.
- Thousands of women with nutritional advice, weight gain monitoring, multiple micronutrient supplements and related treatments.
- Trained dozens of healthcare workers to treat uncomplicated wasting while significantly reducing the financial burden on parents.